This is Copperfield in the early 1980s, doing his brillant linking rings routine. The first time I watched it, I was simply blown away and watching it again on YouTube, I cannot help but marvel at the man’s genius.
A little while ago I blogged about orginality in magic and this is a great example of the context where I lamented about the fact that most performers do not dare to be different and many can’t/ don’t know how to reinvent.
In the video above, you see a very young David Copperfield performing a lovely classic made brand new. In the context of the time this was performed, obviously 🙂
Magic is all about communication and even if you’re an educated layperson who’s seen much magic, you’d still appreciate the beauty of the man’s elegant performance.
The context, setting, structure, tension, relationship between the characters… it was brilliantly told in those few minutes. It’s quite like a movie really, and the magic was strong. I love layers like these and this seemingly simple act was very well thought of!
As anyone perceptive can tell from the style, fashion, music and general mise en scene… this performance was done almost 30 years ago, so anyone ripping Copperfield off (again) and taking it wholesale would only achieve in making themselves look tragically cheesy and horribly outdated.
So yes… this is what I meant when I previously wrote about the context of true originality and redefining magic moments for a modern crowd.
You can still perform classics of course – just do so professionally and differently – no one wants to see something “xeroxed” that even their grandparents have seen. It’s not a magic show then, but one that either wastes people’s time because it bores the audience who have seen something all too familiar… or it only works as a platform for a performer’s ego to showoff their skills. Where’s the real magic?
Now this is the very same reason why Simon Cowell’s everybody’s favorite American Idol judge. He objectively always points out that they aren’t looking for karaoke singers but someone who can make something existing, into a beautiful creation of their very own… and make it new and spankin’ awesome, once again 🙂
So yes. Context, context, context!
Having said all that… man, I so love Copperfield. The man’s an absolute genius, way ahead of his time!